Kolkata Journal. Disappointment and Practicing Acceptance

 

One of the girls at the Women’s Interlink Foundation making her tote bag.

From the time I left the house trying to avoid the snow storm that was raging throughout Upstate NY, or maybe it was even before that, I been working on acceptance.  Mostly because I’ve found its the best way for me to stay grounded and balanced and in a good state of mind.

The best way for me to be able show my soul.

One of the first things Dahn told me about India was that you couldn’t really expect your plans to work out as you imagined.  That things work out the way they were meant to.

I got it when she said that to me.  And I’ve had plenty of opportunities to practice it since deciding to go to India. (and I do mean  practice, as in repeating an action to trying and improve it).

And of course this is a life lesson, not just applicable to this trip.

Now that I’m here,  I can see that there are plenty of opportunities to practice acceptance in India.  Even in the simple things, like getting someplace on time.  When you ask someone how long it take to get to specific place, it’s not unusual for them to answer, a half hour or two hours.

So when I found out yesterday, that I wouldn’t be teaching the girls at the Women’s Interlink Foundation how to sew potholders, I was disappointed, but not surprised.

I believed this was the reason for my coming to India.  It was my expectation to fulfill it.  The reason that people donated money so that I could make the trip.

There were plans in place, vague though they were.

I sent a list of materials so we’d have what we’d need to make the potholders when I got there.  Dahn sent me fabric from Africa to bring with me for the girls to use.

Like sand falling between my fingers the plans (oh plans)  sifted slowly away as the day progressed.  I can’t even grasp exactly what happened.  Just that it didn’t happen.

I was told that the girls who sew usually work from a pattern.  And that they sometimes do patchwork, so I guess they don’t  need me to show them my way of making patchwork potholders.  Which may or may not be the same way  they make patchwork.

So I let myself be disappointed.   Let myself feel it and process it.

And at the same time I  began thinking of the good that will come from my trip, the purpose of it even if I don’t get to teach any potholder making.

Maybe the idea of making potholders was enough.  The women at the Women’s Interlink Foundation  may use it in their own way and if it benefits them, then I’ve already been helpful.

Because that’s what this trip was born from.  The idea of wanting to help in my own way.  In the way that I can.

But  maybe, I just don’t know exactly what that way is yet. Maybe the potholders got  me on the path and now I have to be open enough to accept where that path leads me.

I can see that bringing the tote bags and fabric markers turned out better than I thought.

It was the tote bags that I had little expectations for.   Yet they were able to bring to the girls the same thing the potholders would bring.  The freedom that can come with creating.

I’m also aware of keeping my ego in check.   Reminding myself that, as good as it makes me feel,  ultimately this isn’t about me.  It’s about helping the girls.  And they have to come first.

So at the end of the day, I gave the fabric that Dahn sent me from Africa to girls of the Women’s Interlink Foundation.  I also gave them the thread and straight pins that Kenna sent for them.  And they oohed and aahed over the beaded sewing stillettos that Shirley made for them.

There’s still the possibility that I’ll be teaching potholder making at one of the other places we visit.  We’re here for another week.

But I’m looking forward, as much, to see what else comes about.  Opening myself up to the unknown possibilities.  The things I haven’t even  imagined yet.

And that’s  true creative freedom.

 

 

11 Responses to “Kolkata Journal. Disappointment and Practicing Acceptance”

  1. anna says:

    I know when I make a donation I do so knowing the person receiving the donation will be a good steward for those fund.
    Things happen and plans change but knowing that you’ve entrusted your funds to a caring and thoughtful person that you know will make choices from the heart is all that’s needed
    Exited to hear how this adventure turns out.

  2. Cathy McDonald says:

    Maria,
    Despite the fact that you may not be able to do the EXACT thing you had planned on, just feel sure that your trip does have a purpose. That purpose may not even become apparent to you during your stay in Kolkata. However, your heart and spirit ARE in the right place for you at this time. Be alive, be joyful, and embrace all that you can.
    Peace and hugs to you,
    Cathy

  3. sabina says:

    Maria, I remembered this quote by Mark Twain when l read your disappointing news, because I too went to India to teach but felt that compared to their long history (what have they not invented?) how could l offer anything to them? As it turned out, it was India teaching me…
    “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

    Love reading about your adventures!

  4. C.S.Miller says:

    Do the girls know about your streaming technique? That might be something new to teach them. Maybe you and the girls could make a big quilt together.

  5. fran says:

    One thing leads to another. Expectations can be a waste of energy. I love the pictures of the girls working on the tote bags, especially the two working together, sweet! If it all worked out like you planned you wouldn’t have the wonderful surprises along the way. Amazing flower market pictures. Love the ropes of marigolds and the Ganges(I feel like somehow it must be part of us).Wonderful.

  6. mmmmm, reading this just now I felt such a heaviness and disappointment for you…so I process along with you. I’m sure I won’t be the only one. You are so right though, so much to learn of acceptance in this and to trust that there is greater depth and purpose to open to.

    ~Barbara

  7. Ari says:

    Maria,
    Beautiful. Simply beautiful. You chose the right word! Beautiful girls, their work, the people who dedicate themselves to helping them, you and your reflections and willingness to share.
    Thank you.

  8. Gail Thompson-Allen says:

    Hi Maria!
    Such great photos and wonderful writings about you magical journey…
    I feel like I am there such an amazing place and so many wonderful stories. hopefully potholders someplace but the totes are really special too!
    Namaste

  9. Tara says:

    I can hear the disappointment underlying your acceptance, Maria. My grandfather, who had seen much and lived through the Indian independence movement (much of it being beaten and jailed by the British) used to talk to me about “dharma” whenever I voiced deep disappointment. Accepting the principle of that, he believed, would help me live a more peaceful life. I was never wise enough, or patient enough, to heed his advice, but I think it’s especially applicable to life in India, when plans always seem to go awry and so much you see and experience seems not to make sense. I know that your compassion for these women and your genuine desire to leave them with skills they need will triumph over the craziness that is time and scheduling in India.

  10. Anne sweeney says:

    I can imagine that you would be dissapointed but I love your willingness to learn acceptance. That’s hard for me. So you are teaching me by example. My husband told me -though tough to be apart -he was also glad I didn’t go to Kazakhstan with him to adopt our kids. Both trips were riddled with changes of plans. He knew I wasn’t the best with that. So true. I would have stressed him out! I look forward to seeing where this trip leads you. <3

  11. Susan Crosby says:

    Maria,
    Although you may be feeling some disappointment now,
    when you process everything about this trip, I believe
    that you will understand that everything that happened
    was meant to be. You will find your acceptance. For now,
    just let go and enjoy every moment. “What will be, will
    be”.

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